I never really understood how Star Wars fans felt after Gorge Lucas butchered the prequels and left fans all over the world writhing in agony. It’s not that I liked the prequels, I don't, they really are garbage. But to me, as much as I liked Star Wars, they were always just movies. Fantastic movies, yes, but just movies. They held no significance to me, I felt no emotional attachment to them, and they most certainly didn't change my life and help turn me into the person I am today. So when Gorge Lucas made three terrible movies and took a giant steaming dump all over a franchise millions of people love, I didn't feel the same sense of betrayal and hopelessness they all felt because, well, Star Wars was never anything special to me.
The Lord of the Rings now, well, that’s different. I still remember the sense of joy, wonder, and awe I felt sitting in the very front row of a sold out theater watching The Fellowship of the Ring, and hoping beyond hope that it would never end. I’d never read a book in my life before then, but upon stepping out of that theater I devoured JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece in a matter of weeks. To say that The Lord of the Rings has affected my life more than any other work of fiction, both the movies and the books, would be a gross understatement. Those films caused my love of reading, which in turn caused my love of writing. All the reviews I’ve posted on Amazon over the years, are because of The Lord of the Rings. The hundreds of books I’ve read, are because of The Lord of the Rings. All the stories I’ve written, the world’s I’ve begun to imagine, everything I’ve ever created is all thanks to Peter Jackson, JRR Tolkien, and The Lord of the Rings. I don’t just love those films and books as great works of fiction; I love them as works of art which have inspired me to try to emulate them. So believe me when I say that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is one of the worst movies I have ever had the displeasure to see in my entire life, that it is not something I say lightly. This isn’t just me bashing on a bad movie, it’s me venting my frustration as a franchise I hold so near and dear to me is tarnished before my eyes. There wasn’t a single part of this three hour bore fest which I enjoyed. Not one. You’d think in a three hour movie there’d be at least one part I found to be interesting, one part I thought was fun or enjoyable, or at the very least not completely and utterly terrible. But you would be wrong. Oh lord, you would be SO wrong. From the 45 minute barrel fight, to the ninja Orcs sneaking up on Elves (of all things), to the hour and a half of Dwarves bumbling around in a cave while the most incompetent dragon ever created chases after them, there was nothing in this film that even comes close to reliving the greatness of the original trilogy.
The problems with this movie would be too many to list here, but I will try to go over what I saw as the most damning of them. First of all, and I think we all kind of suspected this going in, the pacing in this film is just awful. The movie is three hours long, three hours to cover maybe a hundred pages worth of source material, if that. But here’s the really confounding thing about it, there are parts where this movie almost felt rushed. Can you imagine that? You’d think, with three hours to fill in with worthless filler and almost no source material to draw from, they would take their time with all parts of the story. Nope. Mirkwood, one of my favorite moments in the books, is rushed through like it’s an afterthought with hardly any time devoted to it at all. We’ve hardly even entered the forests before we’re rushed through it so fan girls can all swoon over a noticeably older looking Legolas and his new kinda but not really love interest, a she elf named… ahh, who cares. It really is a shame the spiders of Mirkwood aren’t given more special treatment. I had envisioned in my mind a grand opening sequence where we’d dive into the lore of The Lord of the Rings and be introduced to Ungoliant, the mother of all spiders, and Morgoth the original Dark Lord, so we could be shown how the great spiders and Smaug himself came into being. How grand would that have been? But no, we get a silly conversation between Thorin and Gandalf, and the spiders are an afterthought. Because giant spiders attacking our Fellowship isn’t what Lord of the Rings fans want to see, noooo, what we want to see is Legolas running around for 45 minutes chasing barrels and she elf flirting with a dwarf. Yeah, that was totally worth making the spiders an afterthought.
But the biggest gripe I have is all the worthless nonsense Peter Jackson shoe horned into this movie for NO OTHER REASON than to pad out a movie that really should have been no more than an hour, maybe an hour and a half long. The She Elf, the 45 minutes of barrel riding, all that extra nonsense at Lake Town that has no business being there, the hour and a half of Dwarves stumbling around in caves, the ninja Orcs, all the this and the that, and the that and the this is stupid, pointless, goofy. It’s a mine Its filler people, plain and simple. None of this HAD to be in the movie, and none of it justifies splitting a 300 page book into three, three hour movies. If you take out all the filler, all the fluff, all the stupid nonsense and spam Jackson forces into these films, you MIGHT have enough for two feature length films. Not two three hour films, but two normal length films. Maybe one three hour film if that’s the road you want to take, but not three.
And no, I didn’t think the action was fun or exiting. I thought it was goofy. Really, really, REALLY goofy. The original trilogy had its share of WTF moments, esp with Legolas towards the end, but even so they always had a sense of dignity, and respect for the source material. The action was fun and exciting, as opposed to drawn out and goofy. There was normally one or two crazy action moments in the original trilogy per movie, such as Legolas shield surfing down a set of stairs at Helms Deep, but nothing nearly as nutty as this. It has to be seen to believed. Fun? No. Riveting? No. Exciting? No. Goofy beyond all reason? Why yes, yes it is. This isn’t a Lord of the Rings movie, is a parody of a Lord of the Rings movie.
But this review wouldn’t be complete without talking about Smaug himself, the title character and main antagonist to this story. Is he at least cool? Well, yes and no. Smaug certainly looks cool, one of the best dragons I’ve seen in film. Personally I prefer the look of the dragons in Game of Thrones but Smaug is an awesome looking dragon. He’s also really cool sounding with an amazing voice actor doing his vocals. So what’s the problem? Well, he’s kind of an idiot. Near the end of this movie Thorin and company end up leading Smaug on an hour and a half wild goose chase through Smaug’s own home, a home most of these Dwarves have never even seen before, and he just can’t get them. He even has one dangling on the tip of his nose at one point and he still can’t kill the stupid guy. Smaug is a dragon that laid low one of the greatest dwarf kingdoms to ever exist in a single day. He’s a dragon that burned down the greatest city of man in the entire north as an afterthought. Sure he’s been slumbering and getting fat for the last thirty or so years, but you mean to tell me that he couldn’t kill a single Dwarf. Now I know what you’re thinking, that he doesn’t kill any of them in the book (as if a movie that strays from the source material so much could possibly use that argument), but you forget that entire chase scene wasn’t in the book either. Bilbo just stole something and Smaug got pissed and went to burn something to settle his nerves. That’s it. That whole stumbling and bumbling around in the dark Three Stooges style, that was all Jackson. So while I will admit that Smaug both looked and sounded awesome, he is entirely incompetent and, therefore, isn’t scary.
I could go on and on about this movie, but I think I’ll just leave it at this. Peter Jackson was handed a golden opportunity to bring JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit to life on the big screen, and instead decided to take a big fat steaming dump on it. Shame on you Mr. Gorge… I mean Peter Jackson!!!
I never really understood how Star Wars fans felt after Gorge Lucas butchered the prequels and left fans all over the world writhing in agony. It’s not that I liked the prequels, I don't, they really are garbage. But to me, as much as I liked Star Wars, they were always just movies. Fantastic movies, yes, but just movies. They held no significance to me, I felt no emotional attachment to them, and they most certainly didn't change my life and help turn me into the person I am today. … more
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more